Monday, April 4, 2011

Sex and the City's Kim Cattrall Talks Meet Monica Velour, Private Lives and More Sex!

By: Anne M. Raso

Let it never be said that Kim Cattrall doesn't have great diversity in her roles! In her latest film, Meet Monica Velour, Kim Cattrall stars as a down-and-out late 70's porn star now living in a trailer park. She’s unemployable in any sort of “everyday” job, fighting for custody of her young daughter and about to do one last porno in a cheap motel to make ends meet. Basically, Monica is the polar opposite of the chic and sophisticated Samantha Jones from Sex & the City. We caught up with Kim at New York City’s Regency Hotel to ask about the diversity of characters she plays, what drew her to the Meet Monica Velour project (which required her to gain a minimum of 15 pounds), her charity work with Lighthouse For The Blind (where her clothing donations outsell all others at their big annual three-day fundraiser), her future projects (including a possible SATC 3 film and a Broadway run of Noel Coward’s Private Lives which won her accolades on London’s West End).
Anne and Kim. Photo: Anne M. Raso/financefoodie.com
Q: I HEARD YOU COOKED FOR YOUR CO-STARS LAST NIGHT. WHAT DID YOU COOK?

KC: Well, it's very difficult because Dusty (Ingram) has suddenly become a vegan and I didn’t know that. So I had to run out and just get a bunch of vegetables and just grill them. And a little pasta. It's not my usual fare because I make chicken or something like that.

Q: WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO PLAY CHARACTERS THAT SHOW OLDER WOMEN HAVING A RIGHT TO SEXUALITY AND NOT JUST TEENAGERS?

KC: Because I am an older woman who has a right to my sexuality at any age. It's my choice. And I feel sometimes and in some ways like Linda Romanoli, aka Monica Velour. I feel marginalized because I'm in my fifties. I mean if you went online and you look at some of the blogs, which one can do on a lonely night, it's pretty startling what people will say about you just because you're in your fifties. And I'm on the early side of fifty and I've had a whole life of Jane Fonda tapes and dieting and exercise and all the rest of it. So I just sort of think how is it going to get any better if this is where it is now? I mean thirty was one thing. Thirty-five. Forty I felt, in 'Sex & the City' and shows like 'Sex & the City' we've been able to push the barrier back. But fifty, it comes with disgust and anger and marginalization. Which is really pathetically sad. And I think part of it, it's rampant in North America. It's in Europe, yes, a little bit. But nowhere near. I think that's why I've been working a lot over there because they celebrate it. Here they don't know what to do with it. It's scary. It's threatening. I don't know why.
Kim Cattrall stars as Monica Velour in Anchor Bay Films’ Meet Monica Velour.
Photo Credit: Kim Simms, Property of Anchor Bay Films
Q: IN A WAY THIS MOVIE IS LIKE THE FLIP SIDE OF 'SEX & THE CITY' IN A SENSE THAT 'SEX & THE CITY' IS SORT OF TRYING TO PUSH THIS WHOLE THING. THIS IS THE DOWNSIDE OF IT IN A WAY, TOO?

KC: I don't see it that way.

Q: WELL, I DON'T MEAN DOWNSIDE. BUT IN OTHER WORDS, AFTER YOU'VE MAYBE GONE TO SOME DEGREE OF EXCESS, IF YOU DON'T HAVE IT MANAGED PROPERLY, THIS IS WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN WHEN YOU STEP BACK AND YOU LOOK AT YOUR LIFE.

KC: I don't think it's a cautionary tale. I think it's what we all fight against. I mean the problem with her is she has no skills. She has no way out. And that's the saddest thing about it. And no one has any use for her. She's kicked aside. And that doesn’t mean that she's not smart and she couldn't do anything. But she can't get a five-buck an hour shampoo job in this town. Nobody will hire her. She's been marginalized not just because of her age but because of what she did when she was younger and pretty and nubile. And she was just trying to make the best she could, you know. I mean that's what she did. So where do these people go? Where do these women and men go? They disappear. They just get further and further down the scale of what their life is and how- it's very sad. It's very sad. I mean she thinks what she did was, she was good at it. There's a pride about. You see that in her. And for a moment, you see this little moment, this little glimmer of her in her heyday and then it's gone again.
Kim Cattrall and Dustin Ingram in Anchor Bay Films’ Meet Monica Velour.
Property of Anchor Bay Films
Q: DID YOU DO ANY RESEARCH INTO MEETING WOMEN LIKE THAT? BECAUSE YOUR PORTRAYAL IS SO MULTIDIMENSIONAL.

KC: Thank you. I didn't meet any porn stars. What I did do is watch a lot of seventies porn. And I watched a lot of documentaries about pornography. And what was so frightening about it is that these young girls, basically, I think they come from all over the world to come to Hollywood and they want to be stars. And then suddenly they realize that they don't know how to act. And they're pretty but there's a lot prettier women. So then they're sort of relegated to answering ads in the back of newspapers where they're looking for live models. And then nude live models. And then pornography is just right there. And they become stars for a period of time. And then they marry. And if that turns out okay, in some porn stars, even after a certain age they'll charge a certain amount for somebody to spend the night with them as an escort, whatever it is. And that's the way their sort of life evolves until there's nothing left.

Q: BEYOND THAT TYPE OF RESEARCH AND JUST THE PHYSICAL TRANSFORMATION, WHAT OTHER KIND OF PREPARATION DO YOU LIKE TO DO? MAYBE IN TERMS OF SCRIPT BREAKDOWN OR, I KNOW KEITH SAID HE HAD A BACK STORY FOR MONICA, TOO.

KC: Oh, yeah. When we got together and we were in those rehearsal rooms I asked him so many questions. And he had a lot of great answers. And some of them he said, 'I don't know. Let me find out.' Or, 'Let's find out together.' Or, 'What do you think?' That, again, my major contribution I felt, as a woman, was that need to protect and to have my daughter with me. And he had written it and understood it but that was a real heartbeat for me. Understanding her, that she would do anything that she needed to do to get her daughter back. That was the major conflict.

Q: HOW DID THAT COLLABORATIVE NATURE CARRY OVER ONTO THE SET? WAS THE SCRIPT STILL KIND OF FLUID WHERE YOU COULD TALK ABOUT THINGS LIKE THAT BEFORE YOU WERE ABOUT TO SHOOT SOMETHING?

KC: No, we had worked so much beforehand. And we had such a great communication. And it felt- there was nothing unsaid. There was nothing unexpected. I mean within doing the scenes, I mean, there's stuff that I do that's not written. I mean the whole stuff with the bikers. I mean those are real bikers. And to make out with a real biker is something that you only need to do once in a lifetime. I mean, as far as I'm concerned. Those guys were so sweet and they were so lovely but, you know, it's a different kind of guy. So he just let those things happen. So there was a real trust and communication. And Dusty was complexly free. He would go with wherever you were going in the scene. Which is just his- he doesn't have a lot of experience but that's just his talent as an actor.
Kim Cattrall and Dustin Ingram in Anchor Bay Films’ Meet Monica Velour.
 Property of Anchor Bay Films
Q: I IMAGINE ALL THAT PREPARATION WOULD HELP WHEN YOU HAD SUCH A SHORT SHOOT, TOO.

KC: Oh my God. It was crazy. I mean we shot- my stuff was six weeks. And that was a lot. And there was quite a few scenes that they didn't need. He overwrote it. You didn't need in the film. So we had to shoot those, as well. At the end there was originally a very long conversation with both of us on the phone, which you didn't really need. We'd already parted ways.

Q: DUSTI AND YOU HAVE AMAZING CHEMISTRY IN THE FILM. DID YOU ACTUALLY BLOCK IT OUT BEHIND THE SET BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY SHOT THE SCENE? TO SORT OF GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER?

KC: No, we didn't. Keith didn't want us to spend any time together. And when we first started rehearsals, which were very light, he said to me, 'I don't want you to be so nice to him. You're being too nice to him.' I said, 'But he's so adorable.' And he said, 'No, I don't want you to get too close.' Which I think was really a great idea because there was always a feeling of him trying to impress her. And I think that if I had- because Dusty's a very young actor, I think that might have led to some kind of relaxed relationship which is not onscreen. There's always a separation between the two of them.

Q: ARE YOU GOING TO MOVE MORE INTO PRODUCING AND DEVELOPING MORE PROJECTS? BECAUSE YOU SEEM TO HAVE HAD SO MUCH FUN IN DOING THIS KIND OF FILM AND GETTING THE SCRIPT 

KC: I do. I totally do. I'm an actor, though. If I'm producing I'm not acting. And it's such a long road to get anything off the ground. I'm working with a writer now in England about a project between a mother and a daughter, which I'm really excited about. But I don't want to produce it. I don't want to direct it. I would like to act in it. Because that's what I do. That's what I love to do. I don’t want to be in boardrooms talking about hiring, hairdressers, and minivans. I don't want to do that. It's just not what I do. I'm not good at it and I don't like to hire and fire people. I hate that.
Keith Bearden directs Kim Cattrall in Anchor Bay Films’ Meet Monica Velour.
Photo Credit: Kim Simms, Property of Anchor Bay Films
Q: YOU STUDIED IN DRAMA SCHOOL IN NEW YORK. HOW ABOUT DOING A PLAY IN THE FUTURE? 

KC: Well, in the last five years I've done five plays. Mostly in the West End of London. Last year I did two plays. I did Noel Coward's 'Private Lives', which was a huge hit. And also I did, I played Cleopatra in a production of 'Antony and Cleopatra' which was directed by Janet Suzman who played it famously in the '70s. So I'm constantly trying to continue to grow and to be curious about how far I can go. And there seems to be a lot of people who want to join me and work with me, luckily.

Q: SO YOU'RE NOT FOCUSING ON YOUR PRODUCTION COMPANY THAT'S MENTIONED HERE IN THE PRESS MATERIAL?

KC: No, I have that script which I'm getting, hopefully, written and produced. But I have a partner and she would deal with the production aspects of it. But for me, what I find more interesting is just playing terrific roles that other people have had to sweat and worry and sleepless nights about. Because I like getting on the set and just concentrating on my work.

Q: I WOULD LIKE TO SEE HOW MAYBE YOU'D MAKE FILMS OUT OF SOME OF YOUR BOOK PROJECTS.

KC: Well, we did. 'Sexual Intelligence.'

Q: I KNOW. I KNOW. THAT'S WHAT I'M SAYING. I WANT TO SEE MORE.

KC: Well, thank you. Well, you will. The last book I did was for young women and that's why I'm interested. I mean I'm a woman. I want to explore where I am and I think there's other women who might want to watch that. Not just in the 'Sex & the City' way. I mean in a way that really reflects more of what real life is about.

Q: IS THERE A CERTAIN REGIMEN THAT YOU HAD TO PREPARE FOR THE ROLE OF MONICA?

KC: I had to eat and not exercise. Which is a pretty fun.

Q: WHAT DID YOU GET TO EAT?

KC: Milkshakes. Bread. Pastas. Just everything I could possibly want. Creamy sauces. Just French food. Any kind. Just on and on and on. And drink what I wanted to drink. I could eat fast food or I could eat a really great steak. BĂ©arnaise with potatoes on the side. Just went on and on and I didn't have to go to the gym. And I didn't have any guilt because it was for my work. It was for my work.
Kim and director Keith Bearden. Photo: Anne M. Raso/financefoodie.com
Q: YOU REALLY SEEM TO BE ENJOYING THE THOUGHT OF THIS.

KC: Oh, it was amazing. And then it was over and then on the horizon I had the Polanski film and I was like, 'Oh, God. Okay. I've got to start again.' Get on the treadmill. Get on the diet.

Q: SINCE THIS FILM HAS IT'S ROOTS IN THE '80S AND YOU'VE HAD YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE '80S,  DO YOU HAVE FAVORITE FILMS AND SONGS OF THE '80S?

KC: Well, I'm actually more '70s and '80s. I love the movies, as he says in the film, 'The best music, the best movies are in the '70s.' I agree. And that's what I love about this film is that he was brave enough in this era of so much distraction and nobody can sit still. Not even a camera can sit still. That he, in those scenes, in the campfire scenes, in the scenes with Monica and Tobe, they're just talking to each other. And you really get relationship. And you get character and you get story. There's no special effects. The music cues are minimal and they're quirky. And I just think he's really made a film about people for people. And it's a love story of sorts. And one of my favorite films was 'Harold and Maude.' And anything Hal Ashby did, I loved. 'Coming Home'. I mean all of those great films, which were people in rooms talking. You know there weren't even great locations. They were just about human interaction, which I don't think you find a lot in American movies. And those are the kind of movies that I like to see.

Q: AND MUSIC?

KC: Oh, my God. Well, it's Joni Mitchell and it's Leonard Cohen and it's Neil Young and, my God, of course. It's all of that music. Yeah, that's part of my- it's the Beatles, of course. Van Morrison. You know those are my heroes. Miles Davis. Those are my heroes. That, for me, that music is timeless.

Q: I NEED TO ASK YOU THE REALLY OBVIOUS QUESTION. IS THERE A 'SEX & THE CITY 3' THAT THEY'VE TALKED ABOUT?

KC: I am not the right person to ask.

Q: AND THEN I WANTED TO COMMEND YOU ON OUR WORK FOR LIGHTHOUSE FOR THE BLIND.

KC: Oh, my great pleasure.

Q: BECAUSE THE CLOTHING YOU'VE GIVEN FETCHES THE HIGHEST PRICES THERE. SO IT RAISES A LOT OF MONEY. 

KC: Oh, yeah. It's a great organization. And not last year, the year before, I cleared out my whole closet and sold all of my clothes. It was like, it was so great. It was like get rid of it. One of those moments. And they raised so much money. Some of the stuff I had worn on the show, some I had worn to premieres. It was just nuts and bolts, get rid of it. And they were so, so pleased. So that association with them will never end. It's a great, great charity.

Q: SO WHAT DO YOU HAVE COMING UP NEXT? IS IT THAT ONE THAT YOU WERE JUST TALKING ABOUT? THE MOTHER/DAUGHTER SCRIPT?

KC: No, no. That's a long gestation period. I'm doing a film in England over the spring, late spring, early summer. And then I'll be doing 'Private Lives' goes to Toronto and then comes to Broadway in November.

Q: SO YOU'VE BEEN IDENTIFIED WITH NEW YORK. YOU'VE WORKED A LOT OF NEW YORK. DO YOU LIKE GETTING AWAY FROM NEW YORK TO MAKE FILMS OR DO YOU LIKE WORKING IN NEW YORK?

KC: I love working in New York. It's nice to sleep in my own bed. I mean I haven't been doing it very much the last six years. But, yeah, it's an exciting city to work in. I mean you film on the streets of New York. Back lots just don't do it. I mean it's New York. You feel it. So it's great to work there.
Kim Cattrall and Dustin Ingram in Anchor Bay Films’ Meet Monica Velour.
Photo Credit: Kim Simms, Property of Anchor Bay Films
Q: ARE THERE OTHER PLACES YOU WANT OT WORK THAT YOU WOULDN'T MIND BEING IDENTIFIED WITH IF YOU WEREN'T IDENTIFIED WITH NEW YORK?

KC: Well, I think London and England is in my blood. Yeah. And that's where I decided I wanted to be an actor. It's where I saw my first plays. In it's own way New York and London have always been the cities. And I love Toronto, as well. That's the triangle that I have. Those three cities.

Q: ON A SIDE NOTE, WHAT IS YOUR HANGOVER REMEDY OF CHOICE WHEN YOU'RE FEELING UNDER THE WEATHER? NOT THAT YOU EVER NEED IT, RIGHT?

KC: For me, personally, I try and drink as much water. If I have a drink, I'll try and get a glass of water, as well, so I don't get dehydrated. I usually take four Ibuprofen or Advil before I go to bed. And then I seem to be okay the next day. But it's really important to hydrate.

Meet Monica Velour opens in theaters nationwide on April 8, 2011

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